Django Django released their self-titled debut record last fall on Ribbon Music and was not only nominated for a Mercury Prize, but was also listed in Rolling Stone and NME‘s top 50 albums of 2012. They’ve been touring since last January when their album was initially released overseas. I missed them when they performed at Bardot in Los Angeles for School Night last September and they unfortunately had to cancel their Iceland Airwaves appearance due to illness. Lucky for me and you, they are back on the road with dates across the U.S. starting in March including two nights at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg with the last show of the tour arriving on March 23rd at LA’s Fonda Theatre.
Last week they premiered their new video on Nowness for the Hand of Man directed by Bafta Award winner John Maclean, brother to Django drummer/producer Dave Maclean. Way to keep it in the family guys! Check out the video and grab some tickets for an upcoming show via Ticketmaster.
“Not Valid” is an ongoing experiment concerning the interpretation of invalid html. The work itself seems to be a series of words in a variety of random colors, though each word has been assigned the color value of itself. The browser interprets what color the word should be. Different browsers will interpret “Not Valid” in a different manner.
I love Kenji Fujita’s wonky little plaster-cast combinations. They’re kind of weird, but also free spirited, organic and a bit humorous- with titles like “Debris of Life and Mind.” Heavy…..but funny. That’s a lot of debris. Kenji Fujita will be showing his works from the last 9 years at Samson Gallery, entitled “Systematic Gaiety” from February 6- March 21st. A pretty great title to describe Fujita’s controlled whimsical chaos.
Michael Gaughan represents a new breed of hyper-creative talents whose work spans an absurd amount of media. Known for a variety of projects (including city-wide scavenger hunts, his chat-roulette in a mock-dorm room rapping identity Ice Rod, and for renting out his apartment for couples needing a romantic getaway on Valentine’s Day), Gaughan creates with an almost child-like glee. Despite the playfulness in the work, however, there is a sophistication and consistency that separates it from most. This is particularly evident in his highly-technical watercolor paintings, where art-world in-jokes exist seamlessly with pop-culture rimshots. In an exclusive talk with Beautiful/Decay, Gaughan summarizes his motivations, “Humor is not my main medium, but definitely a consistent theme in my life and my artwork. I think that putting yourself out there in a vulnerable way is really uncomfortable and nerve-racking. It is a lot easier to do things as a joke rather than take yourself seriously, and simultaneously I am equally motivated by the possibility of brightening up someone else’s day. I ultimately want to bring joy to other people.”
Gaughan’s work references “(art) history…obscenity, pop culture, absurdity, personal experiences, fears, feelings, misunderstandings, language, human experience, and creativity as well. Skate culture is great too!” When asked about the obvious amount of time spent on each work compared to the relatively short amount of time to elicit a humorous response (and if that adds to the joke), Gaughan responds, “Ha ha I hope so. It is also important to remember that punchlines can stay with you… Just because the audience can “get it” in seconds, doesn’t mean that they won’t revisit again it in their mind. I think art-work that takes longer to understand doesn’t necessarily mean that people will remember any longer than something that took only a second to get...”
Oakland-based artist Grady Gordon produces ghoulish black and white monotype prints. The knowledge that each image is unique contributes to a sense that the figures depicted are real. That at any moment they could leave the paper and enter your nightmares. Until this year, Gordon only depicted heads in his work; the full figures definitely amplify the gruesome vibe. But the heads definitely have their appeal as well- leering faces that move in and out of swirling blacks. Gordon is having a solo show in Denver in October. Some of these works will be on view then.
The best way to stay current with the world of Grady Gordon is to follow the dude on instagram @joaquindead. Don’t blame me if you never sleep again though. More full figures and previews of the Denver show after the jump.
A few weeks back I headed over to Chinatown to visit Jeremy Mora‘s studio. You may know Jeremy from POVevolving gallery, but he also makes some great sculptures. Before we pop in on Jeremy’s studio, let’s check out some vintage signs down Chung King road.
Adam Helms is known for drawing radicals and constructing ominous wooden watch towers. His current project is a series of 48 charcoal portraits in response to Gerhard Richter’s “48 Portraits.” Richter’s work used encyclopedia photos to catalog the iconic males of Western culture. Helms is also cataloging icons, but shifts focus to the dangerous fringes where civil wars and insurrections take place. Ranging over the entire political spectrum, from anti-establishment and anti-government groups to official government troops, Helms’ portraits are intentionally politically ambiguous, stating “The politics are less interesting to me then this idea of a repeated identity.”